News | March 5, 2023

EVs are for families, too

As early adopters of electric vehicle technology, Katie and Justin Storer say EVs are great for anyone who has charging access and wants to save money. (©Robert Llewellyn)

Electric vehicles continue to evolve in make and model and so does their place in our daily lives. Some question if they are good family cars. Can they go the distance for larger families or those traveling longer distances?  

They do, testifies the Storer family, who was an early adopter of the technology with the purchase of Justin’s Tesla Model 3 in 2019. Now that Katie drives her own 2021 hybrid Chrysler Pacifica van, the Storers spend hardly any time or money at the gas pump. 

Like a lot of parents, Katie Storer is used to hauling around a crew of kids. Her hybrid van allows her to accommodate a large carpool without a large carbon footprint. (©Robert Llewellyn)

The increasing number of larger, more user-friendly options on the market is helping more families go electric, says Katie, who works as a legal practice administrator out of SELC’s headquarters in Charlottesville: “I can comfortably fit 7 people and our huge black lab in my van, plus it looks and feels like a regular car — so why not?” 

Read the full conversation with the couple for insight into what it’s like to be leaders of the clean energy transition playing out across our region.

What are the main benefits your family has experienced? 

Justin: This is a silly one, but my Tesla is the most fun car I’ve ever driven. It’s zippy. My real answer to the question, though, is I love that I haven’t been to the gas pump since we bought it. 

Have either of your kids taken an interest in your electric rides?

Katie: Huck will point out other EVs on the road and notices whether vehicles we pass have a tailpipe. Now that he’s in fifth grade, he’s starting to worry about climate change and a warming world.  

When we have those discussions, I say I go to work every day to try to help, and that our family — and lots of others — are helping by using things like EVs and solar panels. 

I’ve always thought if you’re bringing young kids into this world, you should do everything possible to make sure it’s a good world for them.

Katie Storer, SELC legal practice administrator

Has your family taken any recent road trips? 

Katie: We just took the Tesla to New York over the holidays. Especially when you have younger kids, you have to stop a lot, anyway. We would stop and charge and the kids would go use the restroom and get a snack. By the time they finished, the car was ready to go.  

What are the most common misconceptions around EVs you’ve encountered? 

Justin: People will often ask where we get our oil changed and I say, “What oil? There is no oil.” They ask about the transmission and are sometimes surprised when I tell them there isn’t one. 

Are there other favorite perks of driving electric you can share? 

Katie: My favorite perk is not having to get my oil changed or pay for regular maintenance. Also, electric vehicle technology is still a novelty. People want to go on rides. You get to meet new people because they approach you while you’re out and ask questions about going electric. 

Justin: The biggest, most obvious one is EVs are cheaper. The electricity you pay for is cheaper and often environmentally cleaner than the gas you would otherwise use — especially if you couple it with solar panels, like we are able to. Until we had two EVs, our solar panels were covering all of our electric needs. Now we have an electric bill again, but it’s not horrible.  

Who should be interested in EVs? 

Maui, the Storer’s Labrador, says EVs are for dogs, too. (©Robert Llewellyn)

Katie: Families who want to save money — if you keep the car for a few years, it will offset the initial extra investment and eventually more than pay for itself. 

Justin: And people who know they have a way to charge it. I was in Portugal not too long ago and saw a cable running across the sidewalk from a large old apartment building to charge a car parked on the stone street. Once you get used to that being an ok way to charge cars, I think a lot more people will be able to stomach the idea.  

Advice for people looking to purchase an EV? 

Justin: Buy now. 

Katie: Look into the federal tax credits, too. Right now is a great time to buy, and I’m sure it’s only going to get better. 

Why should more families go electric?

Katie: I’ve always thought if you’re bringing young kids into this world, you should do everything possible to make sure it’s a good world for them. So why would you invest in a gas guzzling, polluting vehicle? Especially now. If you’re going to buy a new car anyway, the prices are coming down and the infrastructure is getting better, so why not? 

Justin: What she said. 

Electric vehicles are a key solution to climate change.